There was a Millibritcon over the weekend, as I know I've mentioned. It was fantastic and brilliant and a great time was had by all, I believe. This is not a conreport post, but because I'm starting by talking about it, I thought I'd throw in the disclaimer that it was awesome.
At a couple of times over the weekend, someone had to say
Debi, you're being a bitch, quittit
, which (I hope) I did, and then was embarrassed that someone had tocall me on it, because I feel like mostly I've let go of a lot of that bitterness I'd been hanging on to. Not all of it, though, and that's for me to work through. But I am, definitely working through it and I really do think I'm improving as a person. Which is nice.
I've mentioned more than a few times here that I've been listening to zencast
a lot. I'm listening from the beginning and am only on about week 40, but I'm learning a lot - about meditation techniques, about how to learn about myself, and about Buddhism.
I was born agnostic, in the same way that everyone's born agnostic, damnit, but brought up atheist,with an emphasis on thinking for myself and finding my own way. It's always suited me fine. However, the more I find out about Buddhism, the more it seems to coincide with what I believe and think already. And as Gil Fronsdal describes it- for everything I understand about it comes from him at the moment - disagreeing with the teachings and finding a compromise is an important part of it anyway.
The sticking points include, which I'm sure isn't a surprise, the idea of a continual consciousness and of rebirth. Because I'm a materialist, and I believe our thoughts and selves are rooted in the workings of our brain. I haven't read Buddhism Without Beliefs without Stephen Batchelor
, despite it being on my wishlist since forever- wait til I get a job then i'll finally buy stuff up, you'll see. However, from what I understand so far, one doesn't have to subscribe to every belief to call oneself a Buddhist.
Other doubts come from how much I don't know. I don't know everything there is to know about the major beliefs. I don't feel like I know much at all - but again, what I do know is that not knowing, and learning, is a major part of the practice.
I do know that I agree with the Four Noble Truths*, and that I agree with ideas that nothing is permanent, actions have consequences and change is possible. I also have been trying to follow the first four precepts** I don't just agree
with those, I think that they're just plain common sense.
So what I'm saying is - I think it might be time to just admit that this is my actual 'religion'. Or the closest I'm ever going to get. And I may start seriously trying to incorporate what I'm learning in my life. Starting nowish.
I need an icon for this.
*1) Life means suffering. 2) Suffering is caused by attachment. 3) It is possible to end suffering. 4) One can end suffering by following the eight fold path
** The fifth precept is abstainance from mind altering drugs. I am seriously considering giving this a try and seeing if it makes me happier.